The Pokémon Company announced that it is releasing their first strategic team-based (basically a Pokémon MOBA) battle game. They have partnered up with Tencent Games to release Pokémon Unite. Tencent’s Timi Studios is developing the 5v5 Pokémon MOBA. Pokémon Unite is coming to Nintendo Switch and mobile, but it does not have a release date as of now. Unite will support cross-platform play and be free-to-start (free-to-play, since you can download for free but you need to spend money to access all its content). The Pokémon Company had announced last year that it would be teaming up with Tencent and this seems to be the product of their collaboration.
Pokémon MOBA’s Gameplay
In a longer video released on the official Pokémon YouTube channel, the President of the Pokémon Company, Tsunekazu Ishihara introduced the Pokémon MOBA which puts two teams of five players against each other on a closed map. Playable Pokémon include Pikachu, Clefable, Gengar, Snorlax, Lucario, Squirtle, Charmander, and more.
Image courtesy The Official Pokémon YouTube channel
In the Pokémon MOBA, on each team’s side, there are a total of five goals or scoring areas (marked in yellow circles on the map). The player has to catch wild Pokémon in the field and score points. The goal of the game is to score more points than your opponent within the time limit. The player begins the battle at level 1 and levels up to evolve as you defeat wild Pokémon. Each Pokémon can learn 4 moves of your choice plus a Unite move which is Pokémon MOBA speak for ‘Ultimates’ like in other games such as DOTA 2 and League of Legends. You can either choose close range attacks or optimise for long-range. The Unite move will be unique to the Pokemon MOBA.
In Pokémon Unite, there are no types that don’t matter, but each Pokémon has a role similar to what we see in other MOBAs. For example, Snorlax is a tank and Pikachu is a carry. Players can move their Pokémon with an on-screen joystick and have access to icons for the Pokémon’s various moves.
The exact game mechanics are still not fully known but based on the video, players can earn XP by defeating wild Pokémon. Goals seem to be scored by catching wild Pokémon and bringing them to a capture point. The Pokémon MOBA has a variety of familiar-looking MOBA moves like Area of Effect damage, heals, straight-line moves and auto-attacks. The game also seems to feature a brush system similar to that in League of Legends.
Watch the full video of the announcement below:
What started off as a humble turn-based RPG with a focus on collecting has today become a giant franchise with countless games, anime, collectable cards, toys, merch and collaborations to their name. Pokémon is known for its spinoffs, but this is the first time we’re seeing a Pokémon MOBA. Pokémon Unite is coming as a Free-to-Start game on Nintendo Switch, Android and iOS at an unannounced date.
(Also Read: Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Reveals Project “NEXT”)